Emmaus’ WWI Centenary Project


Australian Military Cemetery in France, Emmaus College student with wooden cross, Australian soldier's headstone with an Australian flagThree classes of Year 9 History students at Emmaus College, Burwood campus, are participating in a collaborative World War I Centenary Project with students at College Mermoz, near Fromelles, France, to investigate the lives and experiences of ANZACs.

Emmaus College's collaboration with College Mermoz has been one of the most rewarding learning experiences (for me at least) undertaken during our collegian humanities program this year. It has, in my belief, managed to truly personalise the brutalities of the first world war to such an extent that we feel a much stronger connection to the events of that period than what we would have had in an archetypical classroom environment. 

Sure enough, learning dates and figures is a valid way to learn, but the Centenary Project has gone beyond learning to creating an understanding of World War I which is unparalleled. Through our correspondence and collaboration with our sister school in France, who have been able to procure information that we could not, we have made new friendships and links to our past which have made this project all the more worthwhile, and an overall dynamic and captivating learning experience.
Joshua Van De Ven

The students have researched soldiers buried at the Australian Military Cemetery in Fleurbaix and have sent the information to their French partners, who will translate it and give the information to Fleurbaix patrimoine (the historical club in Fleurbaix).

To be a part of this project for me means that I can become more aware of the kinds of things generations before us did to help save and protect our country, and to help the students in France to gain a better knowledge of the Australian soldiers who fought over there also protecting their country. It has helped me to gain a better understanding of the kinds of things our soldiers did. 

I think this program also helps all students involved appreciate the sacrifice of the soldiers, and helps us to give something back by remembering them. The interaction between our two schools gives us in Australia an idea of how different and similar schools are around the world. It also can start new friendships and opportunities for us all.
Dominique Willett

The students at College Mermoz will also be visiting the cemetery to place wooden crosses, courtesy of the Australian War Memorial, decorated and signed with thoughts of remembrance by Emmaus College students, on the gravesites in time for Remembrance Day.

To be a part of this collaboration with College Mermoz means that I get the chance to remember the soldiers in war whilst collaborating with the French students to make it more interesting and personal. 

While writing letters to the French students through the Padlet app, I was able to gain a great knowledge as to what their life is like in France and get to know them on a deeper and more personal level. 

I think it's important that this program keeps running because it dedicates a special time to research about at least one soldier and to remember them for all the great things they did to make a good life for us.
Millie Adamic